ICE Wants To Destroy Records Of Abuse Against Immigrants

The agency's new proposal could end up jeopardizing any future investigations into the abuse perpetrated by its staff against detained immigrants.

Man with handcuffs.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may be putting a plan into action that would jeopardize any future investigation into its history of abuse. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is sounding the alarm.

According to the ACLU, ICE has requested that the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) consider a proposal regarding the destruction of undocumented immigrants' records. If ICE has its way, NARA would then allow the agency to destroy documents after a certain time frame, even if the records involve cases of abuse perpetrated by ICE agents.

“ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody,” the ACLU reported. “Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs; regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities and communications from the public reporting detention abuses."

According to the ACLU, President Donald Trump's immigration policies could lead to an increased detention rate, which will undoubtedly lead to worse conditions.

In order to keep track of the agency's years of abuse and what goes on from now on, the advocacy group said the new proposal should be under scrutiny so officials do not consider it.

“If the Trump administration has its way, the number of immigrants in detention will increase, detention conditions will deteriorate further and more people will be subjected to life-threatening circumstances and denied their most basic rights,” the civil liberty advocates wrote. “ICE shouldn’t be allowed to purge important records and keep its operations out of the public eye.”

Despite this stern warning, it's not clear whether the Trump administration is paying attention.

The serious impacts of detention can be felt by the immigrants themselves and their loved ones.

With years of reports of abuse still being mostly ignored by the federal government, knowing that ICE could soon be allowed to destroy official records could mean an even greater lack of accountability. 

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Jorge Duenes

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